The frustration the Blackhawks felt following Sunday night’s game was evident.
They played more of a perimeter game, one in which they either couldn’t or wouldn’t get enough traffic to get those necessary, hard-nosed goals. So with a loss, and one in which they didn’t have the necessary effort in that department, came changes.
So why not put the guy who’s usually planted in front of the net on the top line?
Andrew Shaw was promoted to the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa as the Blackhawks prepared for their game against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks were nearly shut out for the second consecutive game on Sunday — only a Brent Seabrook goal with three seconds remaining in the game prevented it. Afterward, Hossa and others talked about playing too much on the “outside,” not making life tough enough on the Carolina Hurricanes and goaltender Eddie Lack.
So up goes Shaw, down goes Teuvo Teravainen. But as with most of the Blackhawks’ line formations, they’re always subject to change.
[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your copy of the One Goal III book]
“It could be short term,” coach Joel Quenneville told the media about the changes. “Teuvo’s been in and out of there, but Shawzy’s been playing well. We’ll see, but I think it’s more so reward. Shawzy deserves a chance to play up there.”
For Shaw, it’s another great chance.
“Playing with those two guys, they’re going to have the puck a lot,” Shaw told the media. “Create some space, get to the net and find some dirty goals.”
This is Shaw’s third stint (at least) with the top line this season. Teravainen will probably still be the long-term solution. But right now the Blackhawks need to stoke their offense again and get more bodies to the net again. Shaw’s one who usually does that.
“(He brings) energy, he’s going to the net, he’s doing those little things that need to be done,” Toews said of Shaw. “He’s playing with a ton of confidence right now, so he’s making great plays, scoring goals. It’s fun to see Shawzy play that way because he’s pretty much doing it all.”